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Democracy and Islam in Indonesia

Democracy and Islam in Indonesia

Mirjam Künkler
Alfred Stepan
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  • Book Info
    Democracy and Islam in Indonesia
    Book Description:

    Indonesia's military government collapsed in 1998, igniting fears that economic, religious, and political conflicts would complicate any democratic transition. Yet in every year since 2006, the world's most populous Muslim country has received high marks from international democracy-ranking organizations. In this volume, political scientists, religious scholars, legal theorists, and anthropologists examine the theory and practice of Indonesia's democratic transition and its ability to serve as a model for other Muslim countries. They compare the Indonesian example with similar scenarios in Chile, Spain, India, and Tunisia, as well as with the failed transitions of Yugoslavia, Egypt, and Iran. Essays explore the relationship between religion and politics and the ways in which Muslims became supportive of democracy even before change occurred, and they describe how innovative policies prevented dissident military groups, violent religious activists, and secessionists from disrupting Indonesia's democratic evolution. The collection concludes with a discussion of Indonesia's emerging "legal pluralism" and of which of its forms are rights-eroding and rights-protecting.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-53505-2
    Subjects: Political Science, History, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xv)
  6. [Maps]
    (pp. xvi-xx)
  7. I. Introduction

    • 1 Indonesian Democratization in Theoretical Perspective
      (pp. 3-23)
      Mirjam Künkler and Alfred Stepan

      The democratization literature in political science does not have a widely used, full-scale volume devoted to democratic transition and possible consolidation in an Islamic country. Thus, our understanding of varieties of possible democratizations, especially how democracy can be crafted in Muslim-majority countries, remains impoverished.¹ This volume is an attempt to fill these lacunae.

      Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, began a transition to democracy with the overthrow of Suharto in 1998 and now strikes most observers as a democratization miracle.

      Indonesia declared its independence in 1945, but its “stateness” has often been challenged: by Dutch reoccupation of its major...

    • 2 Indonesian Democracy: From Transition to Consolidation
      (pp. 24-50)
      R. William Liddle and Saiful Mujani

      In Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation, Juan Linz and Alfred Stepan describe democratization as a two-stage process. A completed transition has occurred when four requirements are met: there is sufficient agreement about procedures to hold a democratic election; a government has been directly elected in a free popular vote; government has authority to formulate policies; and there is no power sharing outside the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.¹

      A consolidated democracy, the second stage, has three characteristics: with respect to behavior, no significant political groups are attempting to overthrow the democratic regime by “turning to violence or foreign intervention...

  8. II. Attitudes:: The Development of a Democratic Consensus by Religious and Political Actors

    • 3 How Pluralist Democracy Became the Consensual Discourse Among Secular and Nonsecular Muslims in Indonesia
      (pp. 53-72)
      Mirjam Künkler

      The absence of strong currents of Islamist ideologies and militant movements in much of Indonesia’s postindependent history is often portrayed as a consequence of the moderate nature of Southeast Asian Islam. Some even go so far as to attribute it to a certain “syncretism” predominant on the island of Java, which, it is claimed, has produced a religion that integrates Buddhist, Hindu, and local mystical beliefs with an Islamic overcoat. By such accounts, the emergence of liberal theological thought that places a high priority on interreligious tolerance and the equality of Muslims and non-Muslims seems a foregone conclusion. However, to...

    • 4 Christian and Muslim Minorities in Indonesia: State Policies and Majority Islamic Organizations
      (pp. 73-86)
      Franz Magnis-Suseno

      In this article, I want to show that the most important factor regarding religious tolerance in Indonesia is state policies. Tolerance, which has deep roots in traditional Indonesian cultures, will prevail as long as the state enforces corresponding legislation and the Constitution.¹

      As a German-born Jesuit Catholic priest who has lived in Indonesia for almost fifty years, has become an Indonesian citizen, and has been an active participant in civil society and interreligious dialogues, I believe it might be useful for me to develop three central points. First, I analyze what I consider to be the basically very good and...

  9. III. Behaviors:: Challenges to the Democratic Transition and State and Their Transcendence

    • 5 Veto Player No More? The Declining Political Influence of the Military in Postauthoritarian Indonesia
      (pp. 89-108)
      Marcus Mietzner

      Few other political actors in Indonesia’s democratic transition and consolidation have received as much critical attention—both domestically and internationally—as the armed forces. Such intense scrutiny of the military only seemed natural given its history. As the backbone of Suharto’s authoritarian Orde Baru (New Order) government between 1966 and 1998, the military had much to lose if Indonesia’s experiment with democratic rule proved successful. Under Suharto’s patronage, the military had held key positions in the regime, penetrated all layers of society with its repressive apparatus, accumulated huge economic assets, and monopolized the security sector. These political and socioeconomic privileges...

    • 6 Indonesian Government Approaches to Radical Islam Since 1998
      (pp. 109-125)
      Sidney Jones

      To the extent that extremist Islamic movements reject democracy or actively try to destabilize the state, they can become “veto actors” in young democracies. How governments respond to them can strengthen or undermine the transition process. In post-Suharto Indonesia, the only time these movements had the potential to unravel the democratic experiment was in the first two years of the transition, and, even then, it was only because some within the security apparatus tried to exploit them for short-term domestic political gain.

      In general, the transnational links of some of these movements had little if any bearing on the severity...

    • 7 How Indonesia Survived: Comparative Perspectives on State Disintegration and Democratic Integration
      (pp. 126-146)
      Edward Aspinall

      In the mid-1990s, following the end of the Cold War, the long and near-sacrosanct international consensus against secession and the dismemberment of states seemed to be in tatters. Experiences in the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia showed how rapidly multiethnic states could disintegrate and how readily secessionist regions could gain recognition as full members of the community of nation-states. To some observers in 1998–2000, the sequence of events in Indonesia looked similar, superficially at least, to what had happened in Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, and there was much fearful speculation about whether Indonesia might also break up.¹


  10. IV. Constitutionalism:: The Role of Law and Legal Pluralism

    • 8 Contours of Sharia in Indonesia
      (pp. 149-167)
      John R. Bowen

      Let me begin with a paradox. In more than one-third of Indonesia’s provinces, at least one region or city has enacted regulations intended to introduce sharia (or the spirit of sharia) into local public life. These measures range from requiring couples to recite from the Qurʾan before they can marry to requiring certain forms of dress in public (head coverings for women, Islamic dress for male and female civil servants) and to instituting Islamic criminal penalties for adultery. The fact that some politicians saw such regulations as enjoying some public support and were able to enact the regulations suggests that...

    • 9 Unfinished Business: Law Reform, Governance, and the Courts in Post-Suharto Indonesia
      (pp. 168-186)
      Tim Lindsey and Simon Butt

      For most of Suharto’s three-decade reign, there were virtually no effective checks on the exercise of state power: government was for the most part not done by law. A constitution formally bound the government and declared Indonesia to be a “law state” (Rechtsstaat), but no judicial institution had power to hold the government to account for breaching it.² In any event, by many accounts most judges were corrupt and lacked independence from government: their decisions were routinely ordered by government (sometimes by telephone) or purchased by litigants (often with court clerks acting as brokers).³

      The result was a dysfunctional legal...

    (pp. 187-188)
  12. NOTES
    (pp. 189-224)
    (pp. 225-232)
    (pp. 233-236)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 237-252)